I think maybe I will never again tell one of my own potential family members that I am a “genetic” genealogist. I think it scares them a bunch. Perhaps more accurately, I think “I” scare them. Not only am I scary (really, I’m starting to believe my bff when she says I make people think I’m interested in AND capable of doing bizarre things 😉) but when I even think of sitting at my PC, in front of my 4 monitors, with all of my shared dna segments opened up in 1000 windows maybe I get this dopey look in my eyes only a mad man knows how to give. Think Smeagol when he dreams of the precious. I think maybe I’ll practice talking to myself in the mirror about it & see if do that.
Silliness aside, I really think I can do better. This is me raising the bar so I can stop hitting my head on the damn thing. My willingness to consider this idea that I’m not a perfect communicator is a big deal in my pursuit of my whatevers. I don’t even know if I fully understand what my whatevers are, now that I put it that way. Just whatever they are, I have never had it in me to care what anyone else thought about it because I have always felt that I’m not that complicated & if one is paying attention, they get me. Easily. But, if they aren’t paying attention, they’ll think I’m a mess. I’m actually not a mess, not even a little bit.
Something I talk about when I actually PLAN to talk and teach about basics of genetics & their place in genealogy is how close we are to understanding the patterns nature chooses when it reproduces. The reason it matters has nothing to do with the cosmetic traits I like to joke about to keep the conversation simple. Finding my eyeshade is about the only trivial thing I’m looking for & I don’t think I need DNA anymore to tell me where that’s at, it’s clear to me. Would I still love to SEE it’s hex? Yes please! It’s going to be decades if I ever see it & would take a huge batch of my genetic relatives to contribute to naming it & then I would need an actual credible geneticist to confirm it. That’s a lot of work over a pair of gorgeous blues. But, if you’re already following the same protocol to find a deadly gene, why not find the peepers too? When I teach at family history centers, it’s evident right away that I’m not really a family historian. I am interested in my family’s history because it’s the only part capable of telling me the future. It’s obvious when I teach that I’m not even close to being a typical genealogist either, so I’m not really sure what those 2 eliminations turn me into. Just a really nosy person, I think 😜
I’m a nose person who is looking for things that threaten the happiness and abilities of our children. I’m gonna pick on autism for a minute. 1 in 55 is the last statistic I saw for it. My little sister is autistic, high functionig but ask me if that really matters (not much, she was still a piece of work) I pulled her from a foster home when she was 15. I had never met her. I didn’t know anything about her. She was born after I left home. I mean it when I say I left & never looked back, my mom got married & moved & I never cared where. There wasn’t any tragic thing I left over, I was not abused in any way, no big falling out. There was no part of me that ever wanted to see any siblings right up until I knew one needed saving & only I could do it. I didn’t know she had autism but I figured it out before anyone else did. She’s 22 now & this syndrome is destroying any chance she could have had at a good life because it’s taken away her abilty to recognize what a good life is. I want to find that gene & watch it travel, see who it hits. I am aware of how lucky I am that I had 4 boys & not one of them has anything that affects their brilliance. I don’t know if their kids are going to be so lucky & I don’t really want them finding out by surprise. When they decide whether they want to be parents, I want them to have every piece of information I can find so they make the choice that includes acceptance for whatever “rolls out”.
I assume most people would want that same opportunity & that they recognize that without thinking about it. But, that’s me assuming. Being wrong just throws a wrench into the perception from every side.
So, I’m not telling anybody ever again that I know anything cool about this fascinating thing we call DNA. From now on, I don’t know squat about it. I don’t even know what it stands for.
*Of course, I always have the funny trail of bread crumbs that inspired my whole topic…
It dawned on me today, actually, while I’m sitting in a Cedars Sinai hospital room hooked up to a bunch of wires & hoses, that what I’m chasing is the most intimate part of a person that will ever exist. I’m not real hung up on intimacy and it being a weird thing but some people are. If ones own wife doesn’t know what’s in their… … … [find and insert appropriate word for the genetic material that both sexes that creates offspring here] then why should their genealogy know? Especially if she’s their cousin. And maybe especially if she’s not. Which one is worse?
I was playing music from my phone in the wee hours this morning & the Heart song, “All I Wanna Do Is Make Love To You” came on. I briefly thought about the whole manipulation of a stranger to get his “genetic materials” and what an unfair advantage I’d have if I could choose better because I have that very intimate info about the contents of it. What did he have that the man she loves couldn’t give her? A child with gorgeous blue eyes who stands 6 feet tall? Maybe. But I don’t think that’s what the song is about, surely the writer meant for us to think that woman’s husband was broken in that regard. So, briefly, I digressed. Whatever. I’m hopped up on potassium & salt so… I guess that’s what we get from me.
I think in 100 years I would probably be the one responsible for creating & selling a list of ideal mating partners based on whose got what genes. We do this with dogs already, we seem to care so much more about the genetic recipe for our puppies than we do our children which is a way different conversation so we’re not going there today. And besides, I have no idea that DNA even stands for & I don’t know anything about breeding life.